Did Limestone Belonged to the Owner of the Mineral Estate or the Owner of the Surface Estate ?
At issue in Kinder v. La Salle County Carbon Coal Co was whether the limestone on the property belonged to the owner of the mineral estate or the owner of the surface estate.
In Kinder v. La Salle County Carbon Coal Co., 310 Ill. 126, 141 N.E. 537 (1923), James Cowey conveyed, in 1867, "all the bituminous or stone coal, together with the right to mine the same" (Kinder, 310 Ill. at 127, 141 N.E. at 537) as well as "the oil and minerals, of every description," (Kinder, 310 Ill. at 127-28, 141 N.E. at 538) underlying a parcel of land.
In 1869, Cowey conveyed his remaining interest in the property, reserving "all bituminous or stone coal and other minerals, as well as all petroleum oil, in, upon or underlying said premises above described, together with the right to mine and raise the same." Kinder, 310 Ill. at 128, 141 N.E. at 538.
The Kinder court rejected the argument that the technical definition of the term "minerals" was controlling (see Kinder, 310 Ill. at 132-33, 141 N.E. at 539-40), finding instead that the rule for interpreting grants of minerals was "'that each case must be decided upon the language of the grant or reservation, the surrounding circumstances, and the intention of the grantor if it can be ascertained.'" Kinder, 310 Ill. at 134, 141 N.E. at 540.